Talk about perfect timing. The same day Senate records disclosed that Senator Clinton returned a $5,000 contribution from the political action committee of Wal-Mart, Quinnipiac University released a poll of 1,072 New York City registered voters and found that 51% of them support Wal-Mart opening stores in the city, while a scant 37% oppose it. The poll found that even in union households, 63% said if there was a Wal-Mart in their community they would shop there. Given the well-funded propaganda campaign that has been waged against Wal-Mart by its competitors and the labor unions, the ability of New York voters to see through to the facts is heartening.
So what are New Yorkers to make of Senator Clinton's apparent desire to distance herself from the company? It can't be that there's something intrinsic to Wal-Mart with which Mrs. Clinton has a problem. When Mrs. Clinton's husband was an Arkansas politician and she was the real breadwinner in the family, she served, between 1986 and 1992, as a member of Wal-Mart's corporate board of directors. Now, an aide explained to the Associated Press, Mrs. Clinton has "serious differences" with the company's practices.
We're not aware of any big differences between Wal-Mart's practices now and its practices in 1992 when Mrs. Clinton was part of the board responsible for its practices. No, the difference isn't Wal-Mart, it's Mrs. Clinton. When she was an Arkansas breadwinner and political wife she backed the company. Now she's not even pandering to New York voters - if she did, the poll shows, she wouldn't insult a company that a lot of us would like at least the choice to shop at. She's thinking way past the New York voters and has her eye on the labor union operatives and far left "netroots" moveon.org and Howard Dean crowd.
Betraying Wal-Mart may help Mrs. Clinton appeal to the left-wing activists who will choose the Democratic Party's 2008 nominee. But as Mrs. Clinton might remember, the last Democrat to get elected president did it by winning the votes of Wal-Mart shoppers. Senator Kerry spent the 2004 campaign denouncing Wal-Mart as a "disgraceful" example of "What is wrong with America." One can imagine Mr. Kerry shopping at a Wal-Mart only if one opened on Nantucket or in France. He lost the election. President Clinton, meanwhile, appeared in 2004 during the peak of the presidential campaign at a Fayetteville, Ark., Wal-Mart to sign copies of his memoir.
We don't mean to be too hard on Mrs. Clinton. Her newfound aversion to Wal-Mart has been widely and openly shared among left-wing elites, which is why the Democrat-dominated New York City Council is so ardent in its efforts to prevent the nation's largest retailer from opening a branch in the nation's largest city. Somehow, the shoppers find their ways to the everyday low prices, even in the suburbs. Making a show of contempt for a store where so many Americans shop is no way to win a political majority. We say, watch this issue. It'll portend whether Mrs. Clinton ends up a winner like her husband or a punch-line like the junior senator from Massachusetts.